My 14-year old son recently bought himself a not-so-inexpensive bike with his own money. On the Monday after the purchase he wanted to take the bike to school. I advised against this as he had a pretty lousy bike lock. “C’mon, dad”, he replied, “who’s gonna steal my bike in this neighbourhood?” (After all, we live in the suburbs and not in the worst part of Toronto where ruffians often steal $500 bikes so they can buy drugs and iPhones.)
“C’mon ______” is a routine response heard by many risk management professionals and fathers. Bad things happen, but they won’t happen to me is the way most people feel.
I confess, there have been times in my risk management career where I have wished cartoon disasters upon my employer like “I wish an anvil would fall on this computer which is not backed up” or “I wish everyone in the department won the lottery and quit at the same time”. I am not a malevolent person; I just figured if some kind-of-bad thing would happen then managers would take the management of their risks seriously. (And yes there may have been a moment where I wished the one-day old bike got pinched just to teach my boy a lesson, but the satisfaction from my “I-told-you-so” was not worth $500. Instead the thought passed and I lent him my lock for a few days. Sorry son.)
Despite getting him a quality lock, I explained that even with the best lock on your bike, a professional bike thief will still be able to steal your bike. You are merely reducing the likelihood of the risk by shifting the attention to the next bike with the crappy lock.
As I said yesterday, sometimes you don’t have to have the best risk management systems, just one that is better relative to the next guy.
(Image courtesy: http://www.pegasusnews.com)